A House That’s Not a Home

In the Xinjiang region of China, there are two main ethnic groups: the Turkic Uyghur and the Han Chinese. The Uyghur make up the majority of the population, as they are the original people of this region, but are still considered to be the minority.

Xinjiang has recently become a very valuable region due to its geopolitical position and rich oil reserves. It has attracted government investment and has been targeted for a “Great Western Development” campaign, causing a flood of the Han Chinese into the region. The Han have developed the region, making Mandarin the language of business. Since the Uyghur cannot speak Mandarin, they have difficulty finding jobs, increasing the socioeconomic status of the Han and lowering the socioeconomic status of the Uyghur.

The shift in power in Xinjiang has made it so that neither ethnic group feels completely at home. The Uyghur have become the minority of their own region and must answer to new people. The Han, even the ones that are second-generation migrants meaning that they were born in Xinjiang, tend to identify more with their place of heritage origin than Xinjiang.

Until the Han can assign a meaning greater than just economic success to Xinjiang, it will never make the transition from a place into a home.

Source: http://popanth.com/article/when-being-a-local-is-different-to-belonging

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